The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) is planning to set up a separate desk for providing services in Nepal Bhasa, or Newar language, in addition to the Nepali language.
This will make it easier for service seekers, especially those who find communicating in Newari easier than in Nepali. It will also help in preserving the language and culture of the Kathmandu, according to the officials at the KMC. The metropolis would also use Ranjana script for official purposes in addition to Devanagari in due course.
As per the officials, the municipal executive body will execute its powers to preserve the indigenous Newari language, and provide services to Newar people in their mother tongue. The Constitution of Nepal in the Preliminary says a state may, by a state law, determine one or more than one languages of the nation spoken by a majority of people within the state as its official language(s), in addition to the Nepali language.
Kathmandu Mayor, Bidya Sundar Shakya had announced to set up a separate desk for starting services in Nepal bhasa for the Newar people in Kathmandu valley and surrounding areas, on the first day in his office.
“We have already assigned one of the officials who has command over the language,” said Shakya, adding that such desks would be gradually set up in all 32 wards of the metropolis.
According to the officials, service seekers can write their applications in the language of their preference, either in Newari or in Nepali and the metropolis will respond accordingly.
Similarly, the Lalitpur Metropolitan City (LMC) is also working on the same line. At the LMC, the Jyapu Samaj has kept a supporting desk with a translator who helps those service seekers for those communicating in Newari. “We are also in a process of providing our services in Newar language, but it might take some time,” said Hari Prasad Dahal, an executive officer at LMC.
Cultural experts and language activists described the plan as a positive move.
“It should not be limited to the Valley. In other places also where a majority of people speak their languages, they should be made the official working language,” said Malla K Sundar, an activist who has long voiced for preserving mother tongues.
According to census 2011, 123 languages are spoken in Nepal as a mother tongue.
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Reference: The Kathmandu Post